Puerto Rico on Friday defeated the US 6-5 at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to punch their ticket to the semi-finals and keep their unbeaten streak intact.
Second baseman Javier Baez singled, stole three bases and scored a run for Puerto Rico, who finished runners-up in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Baez won a World Series with the Chicago Cubs just four months ago and said this is almost as enjoyable.
“It is really close to it. We are having fun and staying together,” he said. “I love the Cubs and I love this team.”
Puerto Rico improved to 5-0 in the tournament as they built their early lead on Friday on six singles in an explosive four-run first inning in front of a crowd of 32,000 at Petco Park.
A throwing error by US third baseman Nolan Arenado gave them two unearned runs and a 6-3 lead in the sixth.
The US and the Dominican Republic, both 1-1, were yesterday night to play for the fourth and final berth in the semi-finals.
Two-time winners Japan and the Netherlands have already qualified.
Brandon Crawford hit a two-out, two-run triple off Edwin Diaz in the ninth before Josh Harrison struck out for the final out of the contest.
Buster Posey and Adam Jones blasted solo homers for the US.
Angel Pagan, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa began the parade of singles in the first inning off US starter Marcus Stroman.
Carlos Beltran singled in Lindor and Yadier Molina followed with a single to drive in Correa.
Baez singled to load the bases before Eddie Rosario’s sacrifice fly to left field made it 4-0.
Posey’s homer in the fifth made it 4-2 and Jones’ second homer of the tournament in the sixth made it 4-3.
“We kind of gave up and you can’t do that here. All the teams are really good,” Baez said.